David M. Cooney, 69, a retired Navy rear admiral and chief of Navy information who went on to serve as president and chief executive officer of Goodwill Industries, died Oct. 24 at his vacation home in Virginia Beach after a heart attack. He lived in Alexandria.
He served on active Navy duty from 1951 to 1981, the last five of those years as chief of Navy information. He was Goodwill Industries' president and CEO from 1981 until retiring again in 1995.
Adm. Cooney, a California native, was captain of the national debate team at the University of Southern California, from which he graduated in 1951. He received a master's degree in international relations from George Washington University and also graduated from the Naval War College.
He received his Navy commission in 1951 and spent much of his career in public affairs. He served with the Atlantic and Mediterranean fleets before joining the Navy Office of Information at the Pentagon in 1971. He was selected for flag rank in 1976.
Adm. Cooney's Navy decorations included two awards of the Legion of Merit and the Distinguished Service Medal.
During his years with Goodwill, he helped expand the organization's reach in assisting the vocationally disadvantaged as well as the physically or mentally disabled. He also led its expansion into the former communist states of Eastern Europe.
Adm. Cooney also served on the President's Commission on the Employment of People with Disabilities and the Social Security quadrennial review for disability programs appointed by Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush. He was chairman of an advisory committee on special wages to the secretary of labor and treasurer of the United Nations Agency for Disability Issues.
He had served on the board of directors of the Naval Institute Foundation and had been a consultant on organizational planning and training programs. A former Eagle Scout, he had served on the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America.
Survivors include his wife, Beverly Satchwell Cooney of Alexandria; a son, Navy Cmdr. David M. Cooney Jr. of Newport, R.I.; three daughters, Dr. Kathleen Cooney Lambert of Arlington, Mass., Karen Cooney Newman of Reston and Kacy Cooney Lypka of Fairfax; and seven grandchildren.